IN THE MATTER OF KAREN ANN QUINLAN (TV) (1977 USA)
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The right to die with dignity was at the heart of this fact-based TV movie. After a serious accident, New Jersey woman Karen Ann Quinlan lapses into an irreversible coma. Only a complicated and expensive life-support system forestalls Karen's inevitable death; otherwise, she is brain dead and her prognosis is hopeless. The girl's grieving parents, Joe (Brian Keith) and Julie (Piper Laurie), end up fighting a lengthy legal battle for permission to disconnect Karen from life support and allow nature to take its course. When In the Matter of Karen Ann Quinlan made its first NBC network appearance on September 26, 1977, the real Karen Ann was still alive -- and would remain so, without artificial assistance, until 1985.